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The Children's Book by A.S. Byatt
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Aug 07, 2011

This was the first time I have read Byatt & perhaps it wasn't quite the right one to start with. I started off enjoying the story and her very lyrical, layered, unusual writing style, but in the end I found the endless historic, literary, artistic, political etc. references to be a bit much, detracting from the main stories. There was a lack of character development & so many characters that I identified with none, although I really did want to and found myself wanting to know more about what they did & were thinking than the book was able to reveal. I also felt the ending was a bit abrupt & I did not particularly like the asides into the various stories Olive wrote or indeed Julian's post-war poetry. I was often tempted to skip over them. Perhaps this novel requires more "study" than I am ready to give and I suspect it will improve after a second reading. I did enjoy the layered nature of the story & that it stretched me (more so than what I usually read), but in the end I think it was a bit ambitious and did not quite come off.
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